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Argonne Levitation 1400533357

It’s not a magic trick and it’s not sleight of hand. Scientists are really using levitation to improve the drug development process, eventually yielding more effective pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing different pharmaceuticals.

While the connection between levitation and drug development may not be immediately apparent, a special relationship emerges at the molecular level. At the molecular level, pharmaceutical structures fall into one of two categories: amorphous or crystalline. Amorphous drugs typically are more efficiently taken up by the body than their crystalline cousins; this is because amorphous drugs are both more highly soluble and have a higher bioavailability, suggesting that a lower dose can produce the desired effect.

Check out Argonne’s You Tube video to see acoustic levitation in action.

Photo by Dan Harris/Argonne National Laboratory.


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